Meatballs Neapolitan Style

Meatballs from Napoli
Meatballs from Napoli

My trip to Italy is fast approaching. I wanted to do a couple of posts before I leave and the dishes had to be simple.

Meat-eaters love meatballs. These are from Naples and may be a bit different than what you’re used to eating here in the States. My Mom made them this way once in a while.

Usually for meatballs I use a combination of beef, pork and veal ground together but this time I’m only using beef. The addition of raisins and toasted pine nuts adds flavor dimension and texture to the meatballs.

The spicy meatballs are fork-tender. The sweetness of the raisins in tempered by the basil tomato sauce. The soft crunch of the toasted pine nuts is a welcome surprise. Simply delicious.

You can serve the meatballs with a vegetable or salad and with or without tomato sauce. I like them both ways. Don’t get too fancy though, the meatballs should be the star of your light lunch or dinner.

Use the tomato sauce to dress pasta or save it to use another time.

Keep an eye out for my 2 new video episodes that we shot in North Beach before I headed to Italy. I’ll spend 2 days shooting video in Rome. Hopefully, we’ll get a couple of new episodes of my shopping and cooking from my apartment kitchen in the heart of Roma.

Buon appetito!

Meatballs Neapolitan Style
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Meatballs from the heart of Naples, flavored with garlic, pecorino, raisins and pine nuts served with or without tomato sauce
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • Meatballs
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 cups cubed dried crustless bread
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup grated pecorino cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh Italian flat parsley
  • ⅓ cup raisins
  • ⅓ cup toasted pine nuts
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil for frying (or use your favorite frying oil)
  • Tomato Sauce (Optional)
  • 1 28-ounce can imported San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large sprig of fresh basil
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Soak the bread in water.
  2. Add all of the ingredients (except the oil) into a mixing bowl.
  3. Squeeze the bread to get rid of the water then break it up and add it to the bowl.
  4. Blend the mix well with your hands (or a fork). (I squish it in my hands until the mixture is very well blended.)
  5. Take about a ⅓ cup of the mixture in your hands and roll it into a ball.
  6. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  7. When the oil ripples, add the meatballs.
  8. Brown the meatballs well. You want to develop a dark, firm crust all over, about 10 minutes total.
  9. Serve immediately with your favorite salad or vegetables.
  10. Tomato Sauce (Optional)
  11. Put the olive oil and garlic in a pot over medium-high heat.
  12. When the garlic starts to brown add the tomatoes.
  13. Add the basil.
  14. When the tomato sauce rapidly simmers reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  15. Add the meatballs and let them warm in the sauce for about 10 minutes.
  16. Serve the meatballs immediately topped with a bit more of the tomato sauce.
  17. Makes about 12 meatballs.
  18. (You can use the tomato sauce for pasta or save it for another use.)

If you want to serve the meatballs with tomato sauce, here’s a simple recipe that will be ready in about 30 minutes.

 

49ers Super Bowl Meatballs and Roasted Peppers

49ers Super Bowl Meatballs & Roasted Peppers
49ers Super Bowl Meatballs & Roasted Peppers

What do you expect from a guy in San Francisco’s Italian North Beach who hopes the Lombardi Trophy comes home with the 49ers?

Here’s an Italian-American appetizer for your Super Bowl buffet that sports the Niner’s red and gold.

The meatballs are easy to make and will be ready in way less than an hour.

If you don’t want to make them on Sunday, make the meatballs in advance and heat them in the oven when you’re ready to serve. Roast peppers yourself or just buy a jar at the supermarket.

The zesty little meatballs topped with sweet roasted peppers will be a winner no matter the outcome of the game.

Buon appetito!

Go Niners!

49ers Meatballs and Roasted Peppers
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
These meatballs are delicious and easy to make. For Superbowl Sunday they sport the San Francisco 49er colors.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetiser
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup cubed, crustless hardy (or stale) Italian bread
  • 2 cups water or milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup grated pecorino or parmigiano
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian flat parsley
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 jar of marinated red and yellow roasted peppers
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Soak the bread in the milk or water and set aside.
  3. Lightly brush a rimmed baking sheet with some of the oil.
  4. Put the ground beef in a large bowl.
  5. Squeeze out the liquid from the bread and add the bread to the bowl along with the other ingredients, except the olive oil.
  6. Mix the ingredients well. (I use my hands but you can use a utensil instead.)
  7. Put a heaping tablespoon of the meat mixture in your hands and roll it into a small meatball about 3-inches in diameter.
  8. Put the meatballs on the baking sheet leaving some room between them so they brown evenly.
  9. Liberally brush olive oil over the meatballs.
  10. Bake the meatballs in the oven for 20 minutes or until they are cooked all the way through.
  11. While the meatballs are in the oven, cut the red and yellow roasted peppers into 1X2 inch strips. (You want 24 red and 24 yellow pepper strips.)
  12. Put the pepper strips in a bowl and mix with the vinegar.
  13. When the meatballs are cool enough to handle put a strip of red and yellow roasted peppers on top of each meatball and skewer with a toothpick.
  14. Serve warm. (You can keep the meatballs warm in a 200 degree oven loosely covered with foil.)
  15. Makes about 24 small meatballs.